Ph.D Scholarship on "The industrious platform economy", at the University of Naples

Research on the cultural and economic effects of ‘second generation’ digital platforms, like Tik tok, Twitch and Clubhouse is just starting, but it does seem that their algorithms and affordances are directed towards the promotion of a more distributed platform economy. They promote a series of ‘industrious’ economic practices organized around a multitude of relatively small and powerless players who compete on fairly transparent and egalitarian markets, as opposed to the ‘industrial’ model of Instagram where a few influencers ‘take all’. It also seems that this new industrious reputation economy is linked to a multitude of novel economic pursuits like crypto trading, a new service economy made up of subscription-based counselling, personal training, and other kinds of life-coaching activities, as well as new linkages to the (expanding) bazaar economy of imitation and knock-off street fashions.

This PhD project is oriented around research on the economic ecosystems generated around such ‘second generation’ platforms. Possible topics are the relation of these platforms to phenomena like the vintage trade, the street fashion scene, the crypto economy or the phenomenon of online life coaching. Specific empirical cases can be located in Italy or abroad. We will use a mix methods approach combining quantitative digital data analysis with qualitative interviews and fieldwork. There is a six month internship at the communications company L’Ippocastano and a six months study period abroad. Applicants should have a working nowledge of English and Italian. (By ‘working knowledge of Italian’ we mean being able to navigate the complicated application process.)

If you are interested in working on this with me, please apply at LINK, deadline Oct 25. There is a small stipend, enough to live decently in Naples. For enquiries please email me at